Despite good defense, Marcus Marshall hit an off-balance 15-footer with 0.02 seconds left on the clock to push the Nevada Wolfpack past the Washington Huskies 87-85 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Sunday night.
Markelle Fultz had tied the game at 85 with 12 seconds left in the game. The Wolfpack had the ball one last time which they took advantage of with Marshall’s 32nd point of the night. Fultz let the Huskies, who fall to 4-5, with 21 points.
It was an exciting game from a fan standpoint as the Huskies played better defense and hit shots to keep themselves within striking distance of the Wolfpack who improved to 8-2 for the season. However, it was defensive stops that UW lacked and could not come up wit the most important one at the end of the game to bring it to overtime.
The Huskies unveiled a new defensive wrinkle, the 2-3 zone. At times in the first half, it looked like 5 guys at the IMA agreeing to try a zone. Nevada was able to penetrate the zone and found corner 3s. They also were able to get to the middle of the zone and pass off to an open man for a layup. Despite UW leading early in the first half, Nevada surged ahead to a 46-41 lead at half. This was due in part to second chance points as the Wolfpack were able to crash the boards successfully. Eric Musselman’s Nevada team ended the half on a 15-4 run with 14 offensive boards and 15 second-chance points.
To start the second half the Huskies found some success with the zone in getting Nevada to turn the ball over and were able to stay in the game with Nevada. The Huskies did switch back to man-to-man late in the second half.
In the end, it was the advantage on the offensive glass and second-chance points that helped the Wolfpack win. The Huskies shot the ball well (56% from the field and 55.6% from 3) but could not overcome rebounds and the defensive stops.
Nevada were led by Marshall’s 32 points, Seattle native D.J. Fenner’s 20 points and Cameron Oliver’s 18 points.
Aside from Fultz, David Crisp showed off with a 3-point barrage that brought the Huskies back in the second half from a double-digit deficit. Crisp ended up matching Fultz with 21 points. Carlos Johnson, who saw much more playing time added 13 points and Matisse Thybulle added 12.
Another positive for the Dawgs was Johnson, who brought energy and attacked the rim with ferocity. He had a couple jams and a near miss that brought ooohs from the crowd. He is seeing more minutes and hopefully that trend will continue.
It was Nevada’s second-straight win at Alaska Airlines Arena having defeated the Huskies 76-73 in 2012. Coach Musselman’s team is picked to finish second in the Mountain West this year and off to one of its best starts in school history. Yet, this game still seemed like the Huskies could have won. The Huskies looked much better than it did against Gonzaga on Wednesday, but it is still a loss.
The Huskies have a week to think about it and will return to action next Sunday against Western Michigan at Alaska Airlines Arena.